Sunday, 24 July 2016

Life in the SLOW lane and an unsuccessful escape attempt

SLOW. But not slow like relaxed, more slow like trying to walk through molasses. That's what life in Vancouver feels like.

Yesterday it was time to bring the MGM (Mean Green Machine) to the bike store to have a new derailleur and holder installed.   Thankfully the bus stop is right across from the hotel.  The bus runs every 30 minutes ???? Oh Great.   I wait for 10 minutes and then the bus is another 13 minutes behind schedule. What's the point of a schedule, you wonder?  Yeah. me too.

Along the ride to pick up the bike at grandma's, I witness more of the ever-present destruction of the city.   Yet another grocery store and parking lot ripped out to make room for even more of those cheap wood-framed 3-4 story apartment buildings.

Hey, people pay a fortune for one of those crappy wooden shoe-boxes, and where there is a demand, a supply will develop.

I used up A LOT of good karma points riding the bike all the way down the hill from grandma, going at speeds up to 40 km/h.  I only realized at the bike store that when I had removed the broken derailleur hanger, I had neglected to tighten the rear wheel again.  When the guy at the bike store lifts the bike up, the rear wheel just falls out.  Time to go and earn more Karma points because I seem to be using them according to the Easy Come Easy Go principle.

The bus back to the hotel is PACKED. When the bus driver asks people to make room in the front by moving backward, everyone just gives him blank stares in the rear-view mirror. I wonder if he ever imagined that he would be a cattle transport driver one day.

I'm leaving my motel today. Finally!  The TravelLodge next door has a room left For $369 per night. LOL. I'm enjoying the thought of my room at Roissy France for $44/night and leave Vancouver to its madness.

But first it's time to bring some food provisions to Grandma and switch bikes. The bike that Zu rode (now there is a good book title) has created some buying interest, so I'll take that one to the Coast to see whether a sale will materialize.  No point of giving it away for cheap; it could always travel to Vietnam in a box and stay there as the Resident Royal Ride.

After swapping the bikes I notice that the one in question has issues that need to be dealt with before I can think of selling it. GRRR.  Swap bikes back.  Only when I get to the mail box to drop off some letters for Grandma do I realize that I'm not carrying a backpack.  Back to Grandma,. GRRRR.    Apparently I'm not the only one having that kind of day today.  Too much carbon monoxide in today's breathing air???

On the way to Horseshoe Bay, a car stopped on the side of the road with a hand extended out of the driver's window forces me to stop.  It's my bank guy.  He's laughing and telling me that I should wear a bicycle helmet and NOT smoke while riding the bicycle.  Good intentions probably but also someone who sees the bicycle as an exercise and health device while it really is a means of transportation. Ah well, lots of people share that misconception.

Thankfully the ferry is late again, so when I buy my ticket at 5:45, my ticket is for the 5:50 ferry, which won't start unloading for another 10 minutes. Good timing which gets me to Langdale at 6:50 pm.

After a brief social visit in Roberts Creek, I get to my hotel around 9:30 pm.  The night and morning teach me a lesson about the Sunshine Coast.  While Davis Bay looks miraculous when seen from the beach, it quickly looses its appeal when seen from a motel with 'ocean view'.

No, it's NOT the view that's the problem.The problem is The Coast Highway wich runs between the beach and the motel and which is host to a never-ending procession of pick-up trucks, construction lorries, camper vans, and regular cars. Traffic is much lighter during the winter months, but right now the tourists are here, and traffic noice is atrocious. Ah well, it's a good thing, another false assumption was rectified.

There is that thing in Munich.  And the Erdogan thing.  Funny thing about Germany. It has become politically acceptable and even correct to insult Turkish president Erdogan in the most childish and unsophisticated ways.  I still haven't figured out why that is so.  Suppressed racism against the 3 million Turks living in Germany?  An no one bothers to point out that the man actually accomplished an amazing feat: In a country with a predominant Muslim population that in addition has long borders 

with Syria AND Iraq, there are no ISIS flags flying. But no one gives the man credit for that.  On the other hand, if black flags should be flying in Turkey, Germans would be shitting their pants because the danger would be at the doorstep to Europe, and they would blame Erdogan for those flags as well.

There is an added twist to this story.  I'm not sure Germans are quite aware of it ;-) While Erdogan is loudly pilloried whenever someone is arrested in Turkey (Read savage un-German dictator), most Germans deep in their hearts are YEARNING for a STRONG LEADER that would solve all of Germany's 'problems'.  I find it very ironic that in today's times, where life is safer and more comfortable than ever before in history, everyone is AFRAID!  Afraid of immigrants, afraid of being poor, afraid of I don't know what else.  So a STRONG MAN would actually be very welcome, but most Germans have a tiny amount of not moral standard, but guilty fear left to not say that out loud. There is a certain history there that Trump voters don't have to worry about (yet). 

So while Germans loudly denounce every action that Erdogan takes, in their hearts they wish they had someone like that to 'clean up Germany' instead of the chubby woman in the ill-fitting clothes.  An NO, I'm not one of them.  Germany doesn't have any problems. Not really. Unless the problem is whining Germans.  But Turkey is not Germany.   So give the man some breathing space and possibly even try to credit him for the fact  that ISIS hasn't marched on European soil yet.

There is a movie. It's called "Look who's back (Er ist wieder da). Think of it as a kind of Borat movie with Adolf instead of Borat.  And while most Germans would be hesitant to voice their true opinion in front of news cameras, put them face to face with The Fuehrer and their hearts melt and their right arm twitches again. WELL worth watching. Here is a TRAILER.

After sleeping a solid 8 hours it's time to have some breakfast (Frankfurter Knackwurst & Comox Camembert with Dijon mustard on Ciabatta bread. YUM) and start packing.  There is a ferry leaving at 12:30 and the next one after that is only at 3:25 pm. That's hanging out for 3 hours in the desolation of Langdale if I miss the 12:30 ferry. MUST NOT MISS FERRY!

The Sea Cavalcade is happening on Gibson's main street, so all the ferry traffic and I have to take a detour to get to the ferry.  But I arrive with ample of time and have devoured my cheesecake with strawberries before the ferry even leaves.

There are two things that I really notice on the ferry.  All the smokers are smoking WITHIN the boundaries of the smoking area defined by yellow LINES  on the floor. Even one Asian guy smoking an e-cigarette. WOW, my head is about to explode being confronted  with this overwhelming nonsense..  The smoke of course pays not the least attention to the yellow lines but is gone with the wind.  That's what human intelligence is wasted on these days.  People are always proud of being smarter than cows, but all they seem to use it for is to smoke within yellow lines on the floor instead of requiring cattle fences like cows.

The other interesting thing is a large group of scouts.  There are lots of little ones (maybe 8 or 9 years old) being herded into and out of the washroom by about 16-18 year old scout herders that in their black uniforms look like prison guards or junior SS applicants.  But instead of hand-cuffs it is  the black handles of scissors that protrude from their pockets.  How odd.
Arriving in Horseshoe Bay

NO, that is not lens glare, that is visible air (even rhymes ;-)

Then it's back to Vancouver. OMG.  Fireworks tonight.  The air is already opaque, more smoke is the last thing Vancouver needs.  Add 500,000 people that are expected to watch it, and most of them will take their cars.  

All else is the same as well:
Go 50 meters, break hard for a red light. WAIT, Almost suffocate in the clouds emitted by the cars hitting the accelerator HARD when the light goes green. REPEAT. REPEAT. ad nauseam
The view from New Brighton Park. I'm enveloped in grain dust (grain elevator right next door) and other dirt (Second Narrows Bridge on the right + Railway line right behind me + the industrial harbour right across the water). Look pretty though, eh?  Pictures can be VERY deceiving ;-)

Why do I eat again at ABC Country Restaurant???? Right, last time I had fabulous French Toast with Peaches.  Too bad they're NOT on the dinner menu. And they ONLY do the dinner menu at 7:30 pm.  Life in a corset.  The fact that I have to wait 15 minutes for the ONLY waiter to finally get to me and to ask him that question doesn't add much to my benevolence or willingness to leave a tip tonight.  Neither does the fact that I've been running around ALL friggin day running errands for OTHER people.

Anyhoo, it's my first night alone at my house-sitting place. Just me and 2 cats. And they're NOT whining.  Yet .....

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